It starts exactly like this – “Ladies and gentlemen, Pioneer football is live and on the air.” Or like this, “Ladies and gentlemen, Michigan women’s hockey is live and on the air.” Or like this, “Ladies and gentlemen, Eastern Michigan Men’s lacrosse is live and on the air.”
The booming voice, equal parts bass and enthusiasm, belongs to Mark Wiseman, play-by-play man for Arbor Broadcasting which presents local sports “live and on the air.”
His style is refreshing. It’s informative, keeping the audience updated on what’s going on especially important details such as the score. He’s energetic but not over the top where the call becomes more about him than the actual play. And he’s positive, always complimenting players, coaches and even officials for their dedication and commitment.
“I try to keep my call moving to give the listener a good feel for the pace of the action,” Wiseman says. “I try not to let my excitement get the better of me, but I love being at the game so much, I hope the feeling comes through my call.
“For myself, I believe that criticism of the athletes, coaches, and referees is best left to a professional level of the sports. I try to treat everyone involved with respect and give credit to both teams. My theory is to act as though each of the players’ parents are listening, because they could well be.”
They most definitely are listening – and they aren’t alone.
Arbor Broadcasting began with Wiseman’s simple desire to get behind a microphone and call a game. Oftentimes, big ideas begin with a simple wish.
“I always wanted to try play-by-play, but it was difficult to find an opportunity,” Wiseman says. “Once Wi-Fi hot spot started to have enough speed to be able to stream audio, I started emailing a few schools to see if anyone would be willing to take a chance on me.”
Pioneer Athletic Director Eve Claar picked up the phone and handed a mic to Wiseman and it was game on.
“She forwarded my email to the hockey team and Mary Packard, the team manager, reached out to me,” he said. “Soon after that I started broadcasting Pioneer men’s varsity hockey in the 2016-17 season. After hockey season was over, I looked at the spring sports. Wanting to stick with a fast-paced sport, I reached out to the Pioneer men’s lacrosse team and they let me broadcast the 2017 season.”
At the beginning, the broadcast team was known as “Pioneer Broadcasts.”
“One of the Pioneer parents had a daughter who played for the Michigan women’s hockey team, so we reached out to them and started broadcasting their games last year,” Wiseman said. “At that point, we needed a name that was a bit more inclusive, and Arbor Broadcasting was born.”
Soon, Arbor Broadcasting was broadcasting Pioneer women’s hockey, Pioneer women’s lacrosse and Eastern Michigan men’s lacrosse. This past season, the team added Pioneer football.
“It has been an honor to get to work with such great athletes, coaches, parents and fans,” Wiseman said.
The honor is returned with great appreciation from those athletes, coaches, parents and fans who find the broadcasts not only enjoyable but of high quality. And that high quality is a team effort.
While Mark Wiseman handles the play-by-play but gets plenty of help along the way. Mark’s father, James Wiseman, handles statistics during the game – he worked on the U-M hockey broadcast for WCBN when he was a student at Michigan. Mark’s wife, Christina Wiseman, also helps with statistics and handles the marketing and public relations for Arbor Broadcasting. And Mike Butler uses his programming skills to create statistic tracking software for the broadcasts and also assists with recording statistics during games.
Mark, who says he listens back to most broadcasts, believes they are getting better with every game as he continues to perfect his craft.
“I have gotten better at being able to find information and do research before the games,” he says. “At first I only memorized my team’s players and worked off of a roster for the opposition, until Ken Kal (Red Wings announcer) was kind enough to listen to one of our games and advised me to get better identifying the players.”
Mark goes back to emphasizing the team approach for Arbor Broadcasting.
“My father does an amazing job with stats, and with football we brought in Mike Butler to help out,” he said. “My wife talks with the fans in the stands and lets them know what we do. I have an amazing team that helps me out. We are all volunteers, so the fact that they are willing to help so much is a credit to them.”
Wiseman, 43, is a native of Ann Arbor and currently lives in Ypsilanti. He graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a BS in Telecommunications and his full-time job is as a technical trainer with Thomson Reuters.
He says the short-team goal for Arbor Broadcasting is to do our best to promote the teams and their games.
“I personally want to continue to get better with every game and provide an experience that the amazing fans in this area deserve,” he says. “As for long-term goals, I would be very happy continuing to support the teams we do for the foreseeable future, and of course, would be interested in being able to provide play-by-play full time.”
And the fans have certainly liked what they’ve heard.
“I have been so lucky to get to talk with a number of parents, grandparents, and fans from around the world who have listened in and they have been incredibly kind, supportive, and just plain excited to get to follow the team when they cannot be there,” he said. “The teams are very supportive of what we do. We work well together and have a very symbiotic relationship. It has been an incredible honor to get to support these teams.”
For more on Arbor Broadcasting, including a schedule of both upcoming and archived games, log onto http://www.ArborBroadcasting.com